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Old 11-21-2018, 02:30 PM   #1
1978 Excella 500
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Novato , California
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So, what would you recommend for towing?

We have a '78 Excella 31' Airstream. So should be around 5k pounds unloaded (right?). We have 3 kids, soon to be 4. So what would you recommend for towing? Needs to seat 6 (without filling the front row bench), so trucks seem to be out, even crew cab options.

My personal preference is a 2005 Ford Excursion diesel (8 cylinder, the 10 gets too poor of mileage).

Considering options such as a diesel van, there are some Mercedes SUV diesel models rated at 7,500 lb tow capacity. But what would you recommend? Prefer diesel for the option of a Jake brake...
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:19 PM   #2
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Nissan NV? Gas though.
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Old 11-21-2018, 03:40 PM   #3
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Hi

I would fully load up the trailer and head over to the CAT scales. See what it really clocks in at. Then go from the real weight when picking the TV.

Bob
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:58 AM   #4
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Diesel crew cab. Someone sits in the middle until one of the kids gets old enough to stay home or drive themselves ��
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Old 11-22-2018, 12:12 PM   #5
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Hi

Until you know if the trailer is 5,000 pounds or 8,000 pounds and if the tongue weight is 500 pounds or 1,500 pounds .... not a good idea to pick out a tow vehicle. That's a pretty big trailer. If the tongue weight is up there and you have a load of people plus "stuff" your choice of tow vehicles may be very limited. That assumes you want to stick with a "stock" vehicle. If hot rodding is part of the deal, then there's lots of ways you could go.

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Old 11-23-2018, 02:51 PM   #6
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We used cars for any of the aero aluminum trailers when that was new. All of North America and Mexico. It’s no challenge. (It’s the hitch rigging).

You can start your education over at CAN AM RV website. Read it all.

An Excursion is literally the worst TV of the past thirty years.

The spec is for a family vehicle used majority solo miles. Screw that up and the rest won’t matter. The spec needs now to include TT towing. Not much of change in the possible vehicles.

Kids & all the junk people find “necessary” these days point towards a Chrysler or Honda FWD van. (It’s all optional past some clothes and food).

Not as great but still far better than pickups would be the V8 Nissan passenger spec vans.

A diesel isn’t “needed” for any reason with these little trailers. Not unless solo use is very high annual business miles.

An exhaust brake isn’t in any way necessary. These trailers aren’t any challenge. An EB is a crutch badly used by those who have them. Control on a descent is the proper use of service brakes. Without TAUT hitch rigging it’s almost impossible to be in a more vulnerable state than riding down with only an EB.

Unless, and until, the TT is equipped with anti-lock disc brakes which are proportionally and simultaneously applied with the exhaust brake you needn’t pay attention to stupid people advocating highest-risk behavior. (How much do they hate you?)

Todays multi-speed transmissions and FADEC takes care of the problem more efficiently than yesteryear.

The problem with TTs isn’t weight. It’s the sail area against aero design. Chassis sophistication. Accidents don’t occur because of the weight, they occur because the rig can’t stay upright with a huge wind gust.

As an AS is more stable than any solid axle type vehicle, play to its strength. Not misinformation or ego. The typical pickup causes accidents the AS would have been fine with.

See TUSON for antilock disc. That and a Hensley-patent hitch square up the TV nicely. No matter how bad your TV choice may be, the quality of the bandaids matters. TV, TT and hitch rigging have equal importance.

The short answer to the question of what TV is: short rear overhang & fully independent suspension. A large range of choices from there forward.

.
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Old 11-23-2018, 03:49 PM   #7
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I think it is going to weigh a lot more than 5000 lbs. The Ford Expeditions are pretty capable for towing. Went on a caravan this summer with a gentleman towing a 34' with a diesel Expedition. Lots of room in the TV. If the budget is at all limited I would look at gas engines as being a cheaper alternative. With a gas engine you have enough engine braking without the exhaust brake. Those were originally added to cover the loss of compression braking of a diesel engine. The only way I would buy a diesel is if I could buy it new with the long warranty and no dubious previous history.

I know a guy with a 31' who sold his diesel 250 Ford this summer and replaced it with a gas 150. After a 15,000 mile trip this summer he said he much preferred pulling with the new 150.

I am not anti diesel. I tow with one and have no immediate plans to give it up. 12 years and 220,000 miles. But currently I would buy a gas TV if I have to replace it.
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:58 PM   #8
1978 Excella 500
 
1978 31' Excella 500
Novato , California
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Interesting replies.

I do have the anti sway and weight distribution hitch on our 78 Excella.

And I've towed my old rock crawler Jeep on a dovetail car hauler trailer all over the mountains in Colorado, with a Dodge 2500 Cummins diesel truck, crew cab. It was night and day different than friends that had gas powered tow rigs. Control, ability to maintain reasonable speeds going up grades and down. MPG for diesel while towing was way over what my friends were getting (14-16MPG vs. 8MPG for most of my friend's gas rigs).

Budget is part of the equation. A new rig isn't in the cards. So the newer vehicles that have the technological advances in drive train, electronic towing/sway controls, etc. are not really options for us.

We do have a tendency to bring a LOT of stuff with us on trips (with 3 kids it's hard not to). So it would be interesting to see how much weight we have total on the scales with my current 1992 Chevy 1500 with the 7.4 liter V8 gas engine. I've had to add helper springs in addition to the weight distributing and sway controlling hitch to make things reasonable. The old truck simply struggles uphill with its current gearing. And the cab space is quite limited to begin with. And simply isn't as stable and as safe of a towing vehicle as I'd like with a growing family (4th kid on the way).

Anyone have experiences with the Mercedes Benz GLS 550 (v8 diesel) towing longer airstream trailers? Older models are in the budget, and they seem quite capable from reviews and specs.

Oh - the comments on the Excursion being a horrible tow rig was surprising. Considering it's the same as the F250 of the same years (2000 - 2005). I really like the cargo room, ability to seat 6x people in the middle and third rows. The suburban diesel also seems reasonable, but has a lower tow and hitch weight rating than the F250/Excursion.

The Jake Brake comments were also surprising. Those of us that went on Jeep rock crawling trips in the Colorado mountains that had the Jake Brake on their rigs had much more control on down grades without using the brakes as much, thus reducing the issues of burning pads or overheating the braking systems in their rigs/trailers.
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:13 PM   #9
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Take Gross weight plus 25% and find a truck that has at least that towing capacity. EW should be around 4800 gross should be around 7000 for your trailer
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:56 PM   #10
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Recommend a Toyota Sequoia 5.7L or the Q56 5.6L. Both have sufficient power, and both seat 6 rather comfortable with 3 rows of seats. Both can handle towing the Excella. You can find some good used ones at fair prices. Just make sure you get the tow package, and you may need to upgrade shocks.
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Old 11-25-2018, 09:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emittim3 View Post
Interesting replies.

I do have the anti sway and weight distribution hitch on our 78 Excella.

And I've towed my old rock crawler Jeep on a dovetail car hauler trailer all over the mountains in Colorado, with a Dodge 2500 Cummins diesel truck, crew cab. It was night and day different than friends that had gas powered tow rigs. Control, ability to maintain reasonable speeds going up grades and down. MPG for diesel while towing was way over what my friends were getting (14-16MPG vs. 8MPG for most of my friend's gas rigs).

Budget is part of the equation. A new rig isn't in the cards. So the newer vehicles that have the technological advances in drive train, electronic towing/sway controls, etc. are not really options for us.

We do have a tendency to bring a LOT of stuff with us on trips (with 3 kids it's hard not to). So it would be interesting to see how much weight we have total on the scales with my current 1992 Chevy 1500 with the 7.4 liter V8 gas engine. I've had to add helper springs in addition to the weight distributing and sway controlling hitch to make things reasonable. The old truck simply struggles uphill with its current gearing. And the cab space is quite limited to begin with. And simply isn't as stable and as safe of a towing vehicle as I'd like with a growing family (4th kid on the way).

Anyone have experiences with the Mercedes Benz GLS 550 (v8 diesel) towing longer airstream trailers? Older models are in the budget, and they seem quite capable from reviews and specs.

Oh - the comments on the Excursion being a horrible tow rig was surprising. Considering it's the same as the F250 of the same years (2000 - 2005). I really like the cargo room, ability to seat 6x people in the middle and third rows. The suburban diesel also seems reasonable, but has a lower tow and hitch weight rating than the F250/Excursion.

The Jake Brake comments were also surprising. Those of us that went on Jeep rock crawling trips in the Colorado mountains that had the Jake Brake on their rigs had much more control on down grades without using the brakes as much, thus reducing the issues of burning pads or overheating the braking systems in their rigs/trailers.
The Excursion was worse (is worse) than the pickups. Suspension AND polar moment of inertia.

Our family traveled the continent and then some — five of us — in cars. Kids = junk is recent. And unnecessary.

Trailers NOT TT don’t make for comparisons. You missed what I wrote? It’s the sail area and COG, not the weight per se. Slack in the hitch rigging means it’s ALREADY at the edge of sway.

And I guess you don’t want to hear what the dumb guys believe about a “tool” that will be the source of a loss-of-control accident AT THE WORST POSSIBLE PLACE. An EB isn’t necessary. Nor are the rigs set up to handle it. Worsens the problem.

“Struggling up a grade”? You mean overheating? Jumped timing? What?

Or your panties twisted into a knot?

How fast you are going up is meaningless.

It’s the quality of trailer brakes (disc) and brake controller (TUSON Corp) that matter. In the descent. If you want to do it right.

Adding spring helpers mean you’ve the wrong hitch settings, first. Admit ignorance and start from there. (A 4WD Dodge has dead steering. That doesn’t in any way equal control. The crisis is over before you feel it. Buh-bye).

That trailer is no challenge. Not for what matters (hitch rigging). A wide design range of vehicles available.

.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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We use an E350 to tow our 27ft. It's gas. The lower fuel economy is easily accounted for in the reduced costs of a gas engine vs a new diesel (I'm a diesel tech).

Towing wise, I absolutely love it. It has a whole workshop stored in the back and room to cart my wife, our baby, my self and the grand parents when they come to visit.

We regularly go up some of the biggest passes in the 4 corners area with no problems. For the cost of ownership, the ruggedness of the Econoline and the space inside, we absolutely love it.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:47 AM   #13
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You do have to accept that you're not going to be the first tow vehicle up a hill. But for the rest of the time, we usually sit on about 70mph no worries.
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

I would fully load up the trailer and head over to the CAT scales. See what it really clocks in at. Then go from the real weight when picking the TV.

Bob
^
X2

92 1500 7.4L. milage? very tired?

Our 93 2500 3.73 7.4 did pretty well with both our 63 22' Safari and the 25 classic.

As noted go to the scales with what you have and proceed from there.
IMHO anything above a 2500 is not needed.

Whatever you choose drive it...as much as possible.
Comfort on long trips is very important.
It wasn't unusual at our dealership for a day long or week end trial for a serious buyer when shopping a truck or commercial vehicle.
POI...look for a store with a lot of white on the lot...they are usually a bit more knowledgable about what you may need, want and have in stock 👍

Bob
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